- Italian international team captain Giorgio Chiellini confirms he “cursed” Saka
- Saka missed the decisive penalty in EURO 2020 Final
- Chiellini screamed “Kiricocho!” – a word that’s been used by footballers for decades to impart bad luck on the opposition
The Italy international football team captain and defender Giorgio Chiellini put the “curse” on Bukayo Saka before the England teenager’s decisive penalty miss in Sunday’s Euro 2020 final.
Saka saw his spot-kick saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma – who went on to become the Player Of The Tournament for EURO 2020 – handing Italy the European title after the two teams drew 1-1 over 120 minutes.
Just before Saka took the penalty kick, Chiellini screamed “Kiricocho!” which is a word that has been used by footballers for decades to impart bad luck on the opposition.
Responding to the question put up by ESPN, Chiellini responded in Italian: “Hello Christian, I confirm everything! Kiricocho!”
— ESPN Argentina (@ESPNArgentina) July 12, 2021
A video from the UEFA also clearly shows the veteran defender shouting the word just before Donnarumma’s title-winning save on Saka.
Juan Carlos “Kiricocho”, or Quiricocho, according to some versions of the story, was a hardcore supporter of Argentinian club Estudiantes de la Plata during the 1980s.
The fan attended some of the club’s training sessions, however, Estudiantes head coach Carlos Bilardo began to notice that his players mysteriously seemed to get injured whenever Kiricocho was present.
Bilardo, as the legend goes, told Kiricocho to attend training sessions of Estudiantes’ rivals, hoping to utilise his powers to help, rather than hurt his side.
“Kiricocho was a kid from La Plata who was always with us, and since that year we were champions (in 1982), we adopted him as our mascot,” Bilardo once remarked.
“He was a good kid but then I didn’t see him again. The last time I was coaching Estudiantes (in 2003-04) I asked after him and nobody knew anything.” The legend of Kiricocho has since been spread throughout the footballing universe with players now routinely using the word when they want to put a curse on their opponents.